D&D (2024) Will Pact Magic survive?

Remathilis

Legend
As we finish up the divine classes and look to the arcane, I can't help but feel the warlock's spellcasting is due for an overhaul.

Pact Magic was designed to emulate 4e's "encounter" magic design; limited abilities refreshed on a short rest. A lot of species and class abilities have moved from x/short rests to prof/mod per day (or x/long rest, as with channel nature). I wager a lot of other short rest classes (fighter and monk) will likewise be reworked to remove mandatory lunch breaks. But warlock has a unique spellcasting mechanic that needs additional work.

Pact Magic as written in 2014 is messy. It does not work like other spellcasters. It gets very few slots (2 for the majority of low levels) that refresh on short rest and all spells cast are of the highest level possible. Additionally, pact magic doesn't actually grant 6th+ level spells (mystic arcanum does) but that's not immediately evident looking at the table vs the spell list. Finally, warlock's have a limited set of known spells and as the Expert packet has taught us, the new paradigm is preparing from your whole list based on spell slots. Clearly, pact magic is a complex mess of alternative spellcasting mechanics that don't play nice with any other spellcasting rules, and if the druid is any indication, WotC is going to streamline anything that is overly complicated for new players. With that, I can't see any way pact magic survives as it was.

But what replaces it? My first guess is that they get a more traditional method of spellcasting that matches the rest of the caster classes. That will reduce complexity, fix issues with multi-classing (including sorlock and pallock shenanigans with smites and spell points) and allow more diversity in what a warlock casts (currently, warlocks are disincentivized to cast spells that don't scale with spell level.)

The only concern I see is what spell level a warlock should cap out at. Technically, they are level 9 spellcasters currently (thanks to MA) but they also have far less spells per day than a full caster. Much of their power comes from invocations and I'm concerned about if full casting + invocations are too much. Perhaps the warlock becomes that mythical "arcane half-caster" akin to the artificer, but it would break compatibility to not have them learn 6th+ level spells. Perhaps keep MA with half caster? I don't know how that would work.

Anyway, what do you think the final fate of pact magic is? And what would you replace it with?
 

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As we finish up the divine classes and look to the arcane, I can't help but feel the warlock's spellcasting is due for an overhaul.

Pact Magic was designed to emulate 4e's "encounter" magic design; limited abilities refreshed on a short rest. A lot of species and class abilities have moved from x/short rests to prof/mod per day (or x/long rest, as with channel nature). I wager a lot of other short rest classes (fighter and monk) will likewise be reworked to remove mandatory lunch breaks. But warlock has a unique spellcasting mechanic that needs additional work.

Pact Magic as written in 2014 is messy. It does not work like other spellcasters. It gets very few slots (2 for the majority of low levels) that refresh on short rest and all spells cast are of the highest level possible. Additionally, pact magic doesn't actually grant 6th+ level spells (mystic arcanum does) but that's not immediately evident looking at the table vs the spell list. Finally, warlock's have a limited set of known spells and as the Expert packet has taught us, the new paradigm is preparing from your whole list based on spell slots. Clearly, pact magic is a complex mess of alternative spellcasting mechanics that don't play nice with any other spellcasting rules, and if the druid is any indication, WotC is going to streamline anything that is overly complicated for new players. With that, I can't see any way pact magic survives as it was.

But what replaces it? My first guess is that they get a more traditional method of spellcasting that matches the rest of the caster classes. That will reduce complexity, fix issues with multi-classing (including sorlock and pallock shenanigans with smites and spell points) and allow more diversity in what a warlock casts (currently, warlocks are disincentivized to cast spells that don't scale with spell level.)

The only concern I see is what spell level a warlock should cap out at. Technically, they are level 9 spellcasters currently (thanks to MA) but they also have far less spells per day than a full caster. Much of their power comes from invocations and I'm concerned about if full casting + invocations are too much. Perhaps the warlock becomes that mythical "arcane half-caster" akin to the artificer, but it would break compatibility to not have them learn 6th+ level spells. Perhaps keep MA with half caster? I don't know how that would work.

Anyway, what do you think the final fate of pact magic is? And what would you replace it with?

I like your analysis. I seriously don't know how it will work out and I am looking forward to what we are getting with the playtest.

Arcane half caster does not sound that terrible all things considered.

Maybe half caster + mystic arcanum slots that progress at full caster level.
 

If you were to use the Spell Points variant rule and assume 2 short rests per long rests, then the points value of the warlocks spell slots comes out to about 1 level behind what a normal full caster would have. So making warlocks half casters would be a pretty significant nerf in the "typical" adventuring day, unless invocations or Eldritch Blast got buffed in exchange.
 

Remathilis

Legend
If you were to use the Spell Points variant rule and assume 2 short rests per long rests, then the points value of the warlocks spell slots comes out to about 1 level behind what a normal full caster would have. So making warlocks half casters would be a pretty significant nerf in the "typical" adventuring day, unless invocations or Eldritch Blast got buffed in exchange.
I will admit I am not sure how the math works out. On the one hand, I was afraid of giving a hexblade invocations and full caster spell slots. On the other hand, half caster would severely slow down access to high level magic. Which is why I'm interested in hearing what people would find better.
 

As we finish up the divine classes and look to the arcane, I can't help but feel the warlock's spellcasting is due for an overhaul.
since Warlock is the most played class I hope they make it good without ruining it... I fear them destroying it.
Pact Magic was designed to emulate 4e's "encounter" magic design; limited abilities refreshed on a short rest.
that is why I don't just love it, but want more classes built like it.
Pact Magic as written in 2014 is messy. It does not work like other spellcasters.
That is why I love it
But what replaces it? My first guess is that they get a more traditional method of spellcasting that matches the rest of the caster classes.
I would think that would be the destroy the class fear I have
Anyway, what do you think the final fate of pact magic is? And what would you replace it with?
TBH I would rather pact magic become the average and other caster ways being an exception
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
since Warlock is the most played class I hope they make it good without ruining it... I fear them destroying it.

that is why I don't just love it, but want more classes built like it.

That is why I love it

I would think that would be the destroy the class fear I have

TBH I would rather pact magic become the average and other caster ways being an exception
All this. The limitations on casting are what make warlock fun. I hope they don't take that away in pursuit of simplicity and ease of introduction to new players.
 


Remathilis

Legend
All this. The limitations on casting are what make warlock fun. I hope they don't take that away in pursuit of simplicity and ease of introduction to new players.
I can understand that in the same "it's fun to pour though every monster book to find beasts to wild shape into", but most of my players have avoided the class because of how limiting it is. If more classes had different casting systems (spell points for sorcerers, etc) then I could see it. But warlocks being the only class that spellcasting doesn't work the same (and is very swingy depending on how often your DM lets you rest). I'd sacrifice it's wonkyness in order to have consistency (both in the classes power and in casting in general).

Plus, anything that breaks the back of smitelocks and coffeelocks is an added bonus.
 

Undrave

Legend
since Warlock is the most played class I hope they make it good without ruining it... I fear them destroying it.

that is why I don't just love it, but want more classes built like it.

That is why I love it

I would think that would be the destroy the class fear I have

TBH I would rather pact magic become the average and other caster ways being an exception

All this. The limitations on casting are what make warlock fun. I hope they don't take that away in pursuit of simplicity and ease of introduction to new players.
I second this. The Warlock is one of the most fun class in the game and probably one of the best success of early 5e design. More classes should work like it, not the opposite. It's not even that complicated compared to other casters: You get two spell slots, they recharge at short rest. Done. You have to carefully pick the spells you learn but once that's done you get into a groove of learning when to drop your spells or not.

I can understand that in the same "it's fun to pour though every monster book to find beasts to wild shape into", but most of my players have avoided the class because of how limiting it is. If more classes had different casting systems (spell points for sorcerers, etc) then I could see it. But warlocks being the only class that spellcasting doesn't work the same (and is very swingy depending on how often your DM lets you rest). I'd sacrifice it's wonkyness in order to have consistency (both in the classes power and in casting in general).

Pour shpour, you can have fun with a Warlock with just the PHB. The Warlock's the simplest of casters. I think efforts to simplify it, especially for the sake of friggin' Multiclassing issues, would only ruin it. They're already messing around with differentiation with those spell lists things... If the Warlock isn't wonky they might as well just cut it and make the Artificer core instead. We'll just keep using the regular 5e one.
 

TwoSix

"Diegetics", by L. Ron Gygax
I can understand that in the same "it's fun to pour though every monster book to find beasts to wild shape into", but most of my players have avoided the class because of how limiting it is. If more classes had different casting systems (spell points for sorcerers, etc) then I could see it. But warlocks being the only class that spellcasting doesn't work the same (and is very swingy depending on how often your DM lets you rest). I'd sacrifice it's wonkyness in order to have consistency (both in the classes power and in casting in general).

Plus, anything that breaks the back of smitelocks and coffeelocks is an added bonus.
Different perspectives, I guess. Warlock is one of the most played classes at our tables.

Limitations are inherently fun, to my mind, because they push you to play differently. Warlock would be less fun if it more slots, even if it was more powerful as a result.
 

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